By Atul Raja
Lack of proper education, access to finance, and social norms are just a few factors inhibiting women’s entrepreneurship in India. However, despite facing various barriers and stumbling blocks, women in India have gone on to create flourishing businesses and jobs.
A study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that the number of women starting businesses in India has increased by 50% since 2014, partly due to the changing conditions for business growth, such as an increasing pool of educated women, more capital-raising avenues, and supportive government policies. Similarly, as per a report by Google and Bain & Company, boosting women’s entrepreneurship can create over 30 million women-owned enterprises and generate 150–170 million jobs in India, which is more than 25% of the new jobs required for the entire working-age population, by 2030.
So, which sectors are emerging as the most favorable for women entrepreneurs in India? Here are details of four emerging and high-potential sectors for women entrepreneurs in India.
The Indian e-commerce sector is poised to grow exponentially. As per GlobalData, it is estimated to reach the INR 7 trillion mark by 2023. Even the smallest of local ‘Kirana’ stores or homemade food businesses hold the potential to scale up exponentially over the next few years.
E-commerce business is amenable to the ‘minimum investment, maximum profit’ concept and is, therefore, helping women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses while working from the comfort of their homes or creating their schedules. The relatively lesser investment and low entry barriers, like doing away with large office spaces, encourage enterprising women who grapple with limited mobility and cultural restrictions.
The Green Industry
As per a study by TerraChoice, India has seen a 73% growth in the eco-friendly product market over the last 5-7 years. The green industry is flourishing in India for several reasons. First, the Indian government has been supportive of the growth of this sector. Second, there is a growing awareness among Indian consumers about the importance of environmental sustainability. And third, a large pool of educated women is looking to start their businesses.
From setting up an organic store to investing their time in recycling waste, from making clothes from plastic to establishing brands and factories for eco-friendly toys and handicrafts, all these segments hold huge potential and opportunity for women entrepreneurs in India as it opens up a gender-free level playing field.
However, the twin challenges of lack of mentors and role models in this field will need to be addressed.
HealthTech is one of India’s most rapidly growing sectors, with new startups entering the market every day. According to a recent industry report, ‘Unleashing the Healthtech Potential’ by RBSA Advisors, India’s HealthTech ecosystem will be a $50 billion market by 2033, growing 39% CAGR between 2020 to 2023.
This sector offers several advantages to women entrepreneurs, including a supportive ecosystem, a large talent pool, and a growing customer base. In addition, many HealthTech startups are often founded by women with experience in the healthcare industry. As a result, these startups have a deep understanding of the needs of their customers and can provide innovative solutions that address those needs.
EdTech has evolved as one of the fastest-growing sectors and offers many advantages to women entrepreneurs, including a supportive ecosystem, access to capital, and a large talent pool. In addition, ed tech startups often focus on providing innovative solutions to problems in the education system.
The reasons for this sector being high potential for women are not far to seek. Firstly, women have played a pioneering role in the education system for generations, and their involvement as teachers, mentors and school principals has only accelerated with time. Secondly, women’s inclination for nurturing the youth, empathy and desire to mentor are well-known. Thirdly, the flexibility that EdTech offers using technology and digital tools has made it even more open to those keen on a work-from-home or flexible role. Lastly, with the new work normal, inclusivity and empathy have come into focus which is given to women.
Female entrepreneurship is not only good for the economy—it’s also good for society. When women start their businesses, they create jobs for other women and help empower them economically. In addition, female entrepreneurs are often more likely than their male counterparts to reinvest their profits into their communities. This creates a virtuous cycle of growth and development that can have a transformative effect on entire societies. With more and more sectors now offering an olive branch to women entrepreneurs, there is a big potential to bolster the Indian economy to the next level.